50 things I Learned About Med School from Med Students

Original post made March 12, 2014

I’ve had the chance to talk to different medical student from different schools, both MD and DO, public and private schools, and all other parts of the spectrum.

These are based off things I was told! I haven’t started med school yet, so I can’t actually testify. But I figure with they went through it and had some good advice and things to say, hey why not?

This isn’t exactly as it’s gonna go down. You make your own experiences and will find your own way.

First year

  • This is hardest you will have ever done. So far.
  • Even though it seems like you have no time, you really do. Now is the time to go to social events and make friends.
  • Take pictures with everyone at your white coat ceremony.
  • Anatomy has three types of people on the first day; the people who are way too fascinated, the ones who cry because they are cutting open a dead person, and the people who throw up into the slop bucket.
  • Always flip the body slowly and with precision. Unless you want a formaldehyde and fat shower.
  • You might fail your first test. Cry a lot then get over it.
  • Even though you know everyone has to be smart on some level, all the drama and nonsense you still see is a little disappointing.
  • You will spend your loan money on non-school items. Because you have no money.
  • Invest in focus factor.
  • Sleep is for the weak. Caffeine is for the strong.
  • You’ll get really good at scheduling. MAKE yourself good at it.
  • Studying is completely different. If you undergrad it, you’re in trouble.
  • You will completely lose track of time, days and pretty much the outside world.
  • You will horribly mess up at least once during standardized patient care practice. It will be hilarious for everyone except you.
  • This year will mark your very last real summer vacation. Use wisely.

Second year

  • Tears will be shed because you didn’t realize how good you had it in first year.
  • Every first year will somehow look like babies, no matter their age.
  • At this point they want you to do other things. Like volunteering, research and be involved on campus. Do them and know that you can sleep when you’re dead.
  • If you chose to be a TA for a first year class be ready to have to restudy the subject so you can actually be helpful.
  • You should know your perfect study nirvana by this point.
  • You will have multiple complete mental breakdowns ranging between “why did I do this to myself?” and realizing you know how to kill yourself far too many ways.
  • Never make definitive plans. Non-med just don’t seem to understand why you can’t just study later.
  • Try your best to keep contact with a few people from the outside world. Try.
  • Most schools end their MS2 years early to allow time to study for the boards.
  • Say good riddance to lectures!
  • Studying for board is your new job.
  • After you get through boards you will sleep, party, then sleep some more.

Third year

  • Being yelled at will be normal.
  • Being told you’re an idiot is also normal.
  • Find a place to cry where no one can see you.
  • You will do a comprehensive session with a patient only to find out they lied to you for 30 minutes when the doctor asks them the same questions.
  • Be nice to the nurses. They know all secrets.
  • You will put on the spot all the time. Don’t worry; you’ll stop flinching every time anyone asks you a question. Eventually.
  • How long can you go without sleep? Find out in third year!
  • Learn to impress. You need LORs for residency programs. Asking a lot of questions helps you do this.
  • Something at some point will make you pass out/throw up/cringe so hard you reconsider your entire life.
  • At some point, a patient will throw up/excrete something/have an mass explode all over you. And your reaction will be the essence of perfection.
  • The end of written exams! (Besides the boards, obviously).
  • You will figure out what kind of physician YOU NEVER WANT TO BE.
  • And you’ll figure what you actually like and what you could see yourself doing as a doctor.

Fourth year

  • Boards AGAIN.
  • This will be your most relaxed, easy year of medical school. Comparatively.
  • You get to pick rotation sites! Do your best to get them to match up to the places you interview at because you’re already strapped for cash.
  • There are dinners the night before interviews.  GO TO THESE.
  • Make ALL the connections! And not just with the doctors! Get in with the residents.
  • Match is confusing and stressful, but it’s actually applicant oriented. So that’s nice.
  • The only people who say match day isn’t bad are the people who got matched.
  • Now is your chance to reconnect with people. A lot goes by in 4 years.
  • If you make it through the most amazing hell journey, you are award with your degree and become a real to life Doctor.
  • Getting out of medical school doesn’t mean you actually know anything though. You got years to go kid.

3 thoughts on “50 things I Learned About Med School from Med Students

Add yours

  1. I love this haha. I’m from the Philippines so it’s a lot different, mainly cos we are still mostly classroom based until third year. Do you mind if i share though? 🙂


  2. This is a totally true list, but this one is my favourite: “This is hardest you will have ever done. So far.” It’s probably true for all years 😉


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